August 04, 2020 4:17 AM
If you’re not even around when people discuss your legacy, then what’s all the fuss about?
Perhaps it’s time to call legacy for what it really is. Yet another denial of death.
People torture themselves day after day trying to create notch after notch in their precious little legacy belt, because they’re afraid of not being remembered when they’re gone. It’s the specter of insignificance. Our complete inability to confront the impermanence of all life.
And ironically, it’s making millions of us miss out on the very life we’re so desperately trying to preserve.
We’re so focused on leaving a legacy after we die, that we’re forgetting to live our lives while we’re still here. Our ego is so obsessed with posthumous recognition, that we’re forgetting to access the miracle that is this glorious moment.
Becker famously wrote in his award winning book that all humans use their ideas for the defense of their existence and to frighten away reality. They don’t want to admit to themselves that their life may be arbitrary, and their own way of existence may be just as fundamentally contrived as any other.
Eagleman has a related philosophy, which suggests there are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.
Therefore, our thought experiment is as follows.
What if there were no such thing as legacy? What if all we had was now? How might that change our daily life?
Eisenhower, through various wars and battles, famously carried around the following poem in his pocket about an indispensable man:
Sometime, when you’re feeling important, sometime, when your ego’s in bloom.
Sometime, when you take it for granted, you’re the best qualified man in the room.
Sometime, when you feel that your going, would leave an unfillable hole.
Just follow this simple instruction, and see how it humbles the soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water, put your hand in it up to the wrist.
Pull it out, and the hole that’s remaining is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
You may splash all you please when you enter, you can stir up the water galore.
But stop and you’ll find in a minute, it looks quite the same as before.
Don’t think of this as the practice of nihilism, the trance of unworthiness or the cynical rejection of meaning.
Think of it as an invitation to liberation. A skeleton key to unlock extraordinary untapped aliveness waiting for you when you no longer have to worry about what lives on beyond you.
Follow this simple instruction, see how it humbles the soul.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does your obsession with legacy improve your life, or distract you from living it?
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.MEET SCOTT